Court Battle in Missouri Over Cloning Deception

I’ve been meaning to talk with you for some time about the scandal rocking the medical community as a result of false claims made by South Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk. This professor has been lionized over the past several years for his “breakthrough” research into human cloning. Awards, articles, media attention all swarmed around him as the “miracles” of human cloning unfolded with ever-bigger hype.

The South Korea government was so impressed with the financial return and prestige points it might gain on the international stage that it reportedly invested some $40 million in stem cell research run by Professor Hwang.

Hwang claimed he had successfully cloned human embryos and created patient-specific stem cells that would miraculously solve the problem of immune system rejection issues.

Unfortunately for the many companies and interest groups hyping embryonic stem cell research as the greatest medical breakthrough ever – he made the whole thing up.

His public disgrace has caused tremendous tumult within the whole biotech industry.

Of immediate interest is a fascinating battle being waged in a Missouri courtroom by attorneys for the “Bioethics Defense Fund”. The attorney waging war is a former counsel with Americans United for Life. Proponents of stem cell research are trying to get a measure on the 2006 ballot which would amend the state constitution to protect scientists who kill babies to collect their stem cells.

The Bioethics Fund filed suit – claiming that the proponents are engaging in a massive deception effort. They want to use a ballot summary claiming that the amendment would “ban human cloning” – even as they would use cloning to produce embryos for their stem cells. They want the ballot title and description changed in order to make sure voters understand that they would be creating constitutional protections for “clone and kill” researchers in their state.

“This case is about truth in the democratic process, which should not be sacrificed by those with financial incentives to change the meanings of words for political advantages,” said Dorinda Bordlee, Executive Director of the Bioethics Fund.

Hearings were held last Thursday in Cole County.


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